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September 17, 2008
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - PS3 Review Page 1
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The Force Lightning looks awesome.
Star Wars is a passion of mine. While I was too young to see the original trilogy upon their first cinematic release, I did own the movies on VHS (in full screen, and then widescreen), saw the re-released Special Edition movies in cinemas, bought them on VHS, then on DVD, saw the recent prequel trilogy in cinemas, and also have them on DVD. With the movies now long gone, the next big outlet for stories in the Star Wars universe is through video games and LucasArts have been putting all their development, technological and marketing muscle behind this game, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - a game which follows the fortunes of Darth Vader's secret apprentice.

Bridging the gap between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope, The Force Unleashed tells the tale of Darth Vader's secret apprentice, Starkiller, who is sent across the galaxy to track down and eliminate the last of the Jedi. Now before you start asking if the story in this game ties into the movies, or even Star Wars lore at all, simply the knowledge that George Lucas himself had a major hand in the storyline should put most at ease.

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Tossing enemies around with the Force Grip.
The game starts with a climactic opening as Darth Vader ploughs his way through Kashyyyk cutting down numerous Wookies in his search for remaining Jedi. Soon though Darth Vader comes upon someone in which the Force is extremely strong - a young boy. That young boy soon grows up to become Darth Vader's apprentice, Starkiller.

The Force Unleashed sees you playing the role of Starkiller as he follows the orders issued by Darth Vader to wipe out the last of the Jedi. In order to do this Starkiller will have to visit a wide range of planets and locations found in the movies, and the expanded Star Wars universe. These locations include Cloud City, a TIE fighter factory, Jawa filled junk planet Raxus Prime, the organic Felucia and of course Wookie home world Kashyyyk which you visit as Darth Vader in the first mission.

When you start the second mission in the game as Starkiller you haven't yet learnt all the Force powers and abilities which you had as Darth Vader in the first misson. In fact, after the chaos caused by Darth Vader in the first mission, the game feels quite empty, but as you finish more of the missions more abilities are unlocked making you even more powerful. These powers are quite easy to pull off with many mapped to a single button on the controller (or combo of L2 and a button etc). As you use the Force powers a Force meter will empty out, and will take time to recharge so you'll have to time your use to have the most impact or the enemies will find an opening to attack you.

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The Apprentice takes on a Jedi!
The levels themselves look quite spectacular, although can be a little linear, with brilliantly detailed recreations of locations seen in the movies, and just a much detail in those locations that haven't been seen in the cinematic experiences. Where LucasArts really deserve kudos is with the level of detail in the backgrounds, with little nods to moments or features in movies. Star Wars geeks will be in heaven here.

Many of the levels have secret and hidden areas where extra items, or Holocros, can be found which can then go towards purchasing upgrades to your characters powers, looks or abilities. In fact, that is one of the great things about The Force Unleashed as you have complete control to decide what abilities to upgrade first. If you want you can put the points to recharging your Force powers quicker, or put it towards increasing your health quicker, or perhaps you want to increase your Force Grip or Force Lightning above all else. It will certainly take quite a while before Starkiller has his maximum powers and abilities.

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